Israel-Hezbollah: 12 Month Security Assessment

On the 6th of April, Hezbollah forces launched the largest rocket barrage to hit Israel since 2006, with 34 rockets being launched out of Lebanon. Though the Iron Dome defence system prevented all but 5 from hitting Israeli territory, rockets landing in Galilee injured 2 Israeli citizens. This dramatic escalation in the Israeli conflict came after a combination of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria on April 5th, as well as tensions in the Gaza Strip over the month of Ramadan. In the month after these strikes, Israel has on average avoided direct strikes against Hezbollah units, but continues high intensity fighting in Gaza against Hamas. Israel-Hezbollah tensions will continue, with the possibility of renewed offensives remaining.

Key Judgement 1. Iranian aid to Hezbollah will likely strengthen in the next 12 months, severely reducing opportunity costs for further offensive operations within the year.

Key Judgement 2. Israel is highly likely to continue its policy of attempting to avoid greater escalation with Hezbollah in the next 12 months, in order to prevent intense fighting during a period of domestic unrest.

Key Judgement 3. Iran is likely to be able to use Israeli distractions closer to home to improve its position in Syria over the next 12 months, justifying its support for Hezbollah.

Key Judgement 1. Iranian aid to Hezbollah will likely strengthen in the next 12 months, severely reducing opportunity costs for further offensive operations within the year.

A.) Iran sees the development of a “multi-front” offence against Israel to be a priority goal in combating Israeli influence [source].

B.) Continued Israeli strikes in Syria against Iranian militias damage Syrian regime control over the country and prevent Iranian military influence from growing [source].

C.) Iran has grown its monetary aid to Hezbollah to the amount of $700 million USD per year by 2023, and leverages this aid on Hezbollah strike decision making [source].

D.) Hezbollah’s massive rocket arsenal is now being reinforced by Iran with anti-ship ballistic missiles and guided rockets in order to begin countering Israel’s Iron Dome and naval dominance [source].

E.) Iran’s diplomats are doubling down on their public relationship with Hezbollah in Lebanon [source].

Key Judgement 2. Israel is highly likely to continue its policy of attempting to avoid greater escalation with Hezbollah in the next 12 months, in order to prevent intense fighting during a period of domestic unrest.

A.) Israel sees a wider war with Hezbollah in Lebanon to be too large an investment in the current environment [source].

B.) The Israel Defence Forces claims its strikes in Lebanon hit Hamas, and not Hezbollah, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims to domestic audiences that these strikes hit Hezbollah targets [source].

C.) Domestic unrest in Israel continues, with thousands of Israeli citizens demonstrating on the streets, creating an unstable domestic situation for the military to contain and the government to base its legitimacy off of [source].

D.) Israel has accepted Hezbollah’s claim that it did not order the rocket strikes out of Palestine [source].

Key Judgement 3. Iran is likely to be able to use Israeli distractions closer to home to improve its position in Syria over the next 12 months, justifying its support for Hezbollah.

A.) Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met with President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, for the first meeting between the country’s leadership since 2011 while rocket strikes against Israel continue to rage [source].

B.) Syria and Iran’s new trade deal opens new avenues for Iranian exports and imports to go through, circumventing sanctions and redoubling Syrian relations with Iran [source].

C.) Iran is using its escalatory cycle with Israel to justify strikes against American positions in Syria in order to pressure American presence in Syria [source].

Analytical Summary: We are confident that Israel and Hezbollah will not go to all out war within the next year, though Hezbollah will continue to build its ability to overwhelm Israeli rocket defence with help from Iran. This report relied primarily on English and Arabic language sources. An alternative hypothesis included the possibility of military escalation between the Israel and Hezbollah over the Gaza Strip in the coming 12 months, but if this were to be plausible, we would expect to see more dramatic rearmament and mobilisation efforts to begin on both sides. Additionally, IDF and domestic leadership in Israel would likely be in unison in messaging about strikes against Hezbollah, while attacks into Lebanon explicitly target Hezbollah positions.

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 26 May 2023

Table of Contents

Related Content

Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP): 12 Month Counter-Terrorism Forecast

Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS): Dead But Not Buried?

Location:_ MENA

Nigerian Defence: Balancing Human Rights and Security

Location:_ West Africa

Islamic State Somalia Province (ISS): An Assessment

Location:_ Horn of Africa

JNIM: The Quest for a West African Caliphate

Location:_ West Africa

Islamic State’s Central African Province (ISCAP): Threat Assessment

Location:_ Central Africa

Stay in the loop

Get a free weekly email that makes reading intel articles and reports actually enjoyable.

Log in

Stay in the loop

Get a free weekly email that makes reading Intelligence Reports and Articles actually enjoyable.

Table of Contents

Contact

Contact

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.